Disaster relief drivers: China and the US in comparative perspective.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts bring fatalities, injuries, property damage, and economic and social disruption to countries that bear the brunt of acts of nature. Disaster aid for emergency relief and reconstruction is important in helping reduce the exposure to consequent risks, and ensuring the availability of sufficient funds to governments and individuals during the recovery process. (1) Aid from the international community, such as from foreign governments and international agencies, in particular, recognises the need to mitigate and reduce losses caused by natural disasters. (2) Not only developing countries but also developed countries have needed and received international assistance when affected by disasters. This article examines two such crisis situations, Hurricane Katrina in the US and the Wenchuan earthquake in China. Though these are two isolated cases, much can be learned about disaster relief drivers from the scale of these events.
On 28 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the southern coast of the US, causing devastating destruction. It was reported that more than 1,800 people lost their lives, and more than USD81 billion worth of damage was incurred. (3,4) Katrina was the costliest hurricane, as well as one of the five deadliest, in the history of the US. (5) It destroyed livelihoods, ravaged the lives of thousands of people and left long-lasting trauma. (6) Also, serious concerns were raised about the human and institutional response to this disaster, as well as how the weakest within the society are supported in times of severe need for targeted assistance. (7)
As delineated in the United States National Response Plan, disaster response and planning are first and foremost a local government's responsibility. When the local government of the disaster-stricken area exhausts its resources to tackle a disaster, it then requests specific additional assistance from the national or international communities. On 4 September 2005, one week after Hurricane Katrina, the US officially asked the European Union for urgent assistance to deal with the crisis situation, requesting blankets, emergency medical kits, water and 500,000 food rations for victims. (8) Other non-European countries, such as Australia, Cuba, Indonesia, Israel, Sri Lanka and Venezuela also offered immediate aid. (9) Over 130 countries and more than a dozen international organisations offered help to the US, with total pledged foreign financial assistance amounting to USD854 million. (10) The world united to facilitate a quick recovery for the affected areas and people.
On 12 May 2008, an earthquake that measured 8 on the Richter scale struck Wenchuan County, in the Sichuan province of China. Neighbouring cities such as Jiangyou, Tianpeng, Guangyuan, Mianyang and Chengdu suffered extensive damage and also bore continuous aftershocks. According to Yin et al., this "earthquake directly caused more than 15,000 geohazards in the form of landslides, rock falls, and debris flows" (11) and it was estimated that more than 15 million houses collapsed in this densely populated mountain area. (12) The China Earthquake Administration (CEA) was quick in sending teams of experts to the affected region but despite its efforts, official figures (as of 21 July 2008) stated that 69,227 people were confirmed dead, 374,643 injured, 17,923 missing and 4.8 million people were left homeless. (13) The severity of the earthquake and mass media attention soon caused foreign nations and organisations to respond by offering condolences and assistance. On 14 May 2008, two days after the disaster, the United Nations' Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that China had formally requested support from the international community to help the families affected by the earthquake. (14) In total, over 160 countries expressed diplomatic condolences and offered assistance to China. The total amount of foreign assistance amounted to over USD500 million. (15) It was expected that the geohazards caused by the Wenchuan earthquake would continue to be felt for five to ten, or even 20 years. (16) Without a doubt, so would its effects on human lives.
When a massive disaster occurs, quick and extensive responses can significantly reduce human and property losses. However, the situation after such a disaster is extremely complex. Considering the large geographic area affected and the large number of organisational entities and individuals involved, disaster relief can be daunting and difficult. Furthermore, major disasters--in particular those that occur in developing countries--often require extensive help involving worldwide assistance with information and management. (17) International assistance in disaster relief, ideally, should be purely humanitarian, objective and non-political, but more often than not, it has been shown to be strongly political, and influenced by the nature of the disaster itself, media coverage and a range of other factors, such as foreign policy interests. (18,19)
The US--the world's largest developed nation--and China--the world's largest developing nation--differ greatly in terms of their economic systems, political order, global influences and disaster recovery capabilities, despite China's substantial progress in recent years. (20) It is still almost inevitable that the US will continue to be the world's dominant geopolitical force and the only superpower well into the new century. (21,22) Its economic and military hegemony are still unchallenged. China's emergence on the world stage has been growing over the past few decades, and its awakening has set off reverberations in the international community. Some predict that China's economy could overtake the US by 2030. (23) The immense capacity of the Chinese state is strengthened by the strong drive among its people for a better life and their innate business acumen. (24) To a significant extent, China's influence is shaping the business cycle in the 21st century not only in the US but also in many other parts of the world. It seems beyond doubt that China is America's greatest challenge when it comes to exerting influence on other countries around the world, (25,26) including in the development of new technologies. (27) Of the informal group of 19 countries and the EU (namely the G-20) with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, an actual G-2 (China-US) is emerging almost by default, even though neither China nor the US will give their relationship this grandiose title. (28) In the international affairs research field, comparisons between China and the US have proved to be a robust topic. (29,30,31)
When these two powerful countries were struck by massive natural disasters, how did the international community react? Did the international community display political diplomacy or humanitarian cosmopolitanism in its disaster relief response? If it was a form of diplomacy, what impelled countries around the globe to contribute towards disaster assistance to the US and China? The purpose of this study is to test for the differences in the foreign assistance offered to the US and China. We analyse this as three sets of decisions related to the natural disasters: (i) the decision to grant disaster aid; (ii) the kind of disaster aid offered; and (iii) the amount of this disaster aid.
The next sections review the literature on foreign assistance in disaster relief, present the methodology and data used here and examine the data analysis. This is followed by a discussion of the factors determining disaster aid and a summary of the key insights revealed by this research.
The research related to disaster assistance shows that most foreign disaster aid decisions are multifaceted and involve a range of considerations about the recipient country's economic and social development potential, geo-strategy, political and diplomatic impact as well as the donor state's economic benefits. Many studies, however, convincingly argue that foreign assistance to the disaster-stricken country is overwhelmingly political. There are wide discussions about disaster diplomacy as well as a growing number of case studies which have been theoretically analysed. (32)
Whatever the case may be, the success of any disaster relief inherently depends on the people and institutions involved in its implementation. For example, in the case of foreign assistance to the US after Katrina, many international donors expressed frustration over legislative delays (for nearly a week after help had been offered) in shipment approvals. Lapses in knowledge management between and across the agencies involved were largely traceable as a cause for the slow reaction. (33) As people always have their own interests and cultural frameworks, it is not surprising that institutions are also inevitably grounded in politics. (34)
The US foreign humanitarian aid, in particular, has been demonstrated to be strongly political at the granting and allocative stages and guided by three basic types of consideration: US foreign policy concerns or reservations about the potential recipient state, domestic US political concerns and domestic politics within the potential recipient state. (35) The political considerations in foreign assistance for disaster relief are often expressed through support being granted specifically for development projects. (36) In emergency operations in Afghanistan, the level of financial assistance was found to depend on the degree of political, and in particular, security interests of the aid-funding governments (donors) in the specific region. (37) As a big developing country, India also implements disaster relief diplomacy. (38) The evidence available from studying Aceh following the 2004 Asian tsunami suggests that interstate and intrastate disaster diplomacies are similar, irrespective of the players involved, and that disaster diplomacy is similarly limited in resolving decades-long conflicts and achieving peace. (39) In the Asian context, the policies and political interests of the national governments are more important than the actual purveyors of ground relief, which are likely to affect the nature, pace and effectiveness of relief operations. (40)
"Distance" is a privileged topic in geography discussions relating to the moral philosophy of aid. Some geographers debate the so-called "geographies of generosity", focusing on disaster donations around the themes of "caring at a distance" and the "geographies of responsibility". (41,42,43) Theoretically, geographies of generosity can refer to different aspects of generosity in which new modes of spatial relationships are being formed that go beyond the simplistic dualism of giving and receiving. (44,45) In this emerging field, present studies analyse the geographies of generous practices to examine the multiple and complex motivations for help following the occurrence of natural disasters and/or political emergencies. (46,47,48)
In the 21st century, spatial distance has become much more fluid, (49) which has made disaster assistance more cosmopolitan. Since there is no international mechanism to ensure that global communities offer assistance to the disaster-stricken countries, global cosmopolitanism is asserted to be the moral grounds for dealing with disasters. (50) According to Calhoun, "(c)osmopolitanism has become an enormously popular rhetorical vehicle for claiming at once to be already global and to have the highest ethical aspirations for what globalization can offer". (51) The disaster responses from the global communities therefore have become part of the argument about cosmopolitanism, advocated by social sciences in the 1990s. (52,53) In the disaster responses of donor countries, cosmopolitanism and nationalism cannot be sharply juxtaposed, but cosmopolitanism is often framed through national interests. (54)
The severity of any disaster situation coupled with limitations in aid resources and the need to act urgently, justify the calls for a global information network (GIN) that could be extremely useful. Such a network should be capable of retrieving and collating data into useful information to support international agencies in facilitating humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. (55) Four key factors need to be taken into consideration in designing a GIN: the nature of the humanitarian assistance/disaster relief; the social, cultural and organisational context; the scarcity of resources; and negotiation style among participating agencies. (56)
Another factor that influences international assistance is media coverage. International disaster aid research has repeatedly revealed that the level of news media coverage in the domestic press has the most consistent and most substantial influence upon assistance offered by the US and Japan. (57,58) A study of the US government response to natural disasters in other countries between 1968 and 2002 alludes to a direct link with "other newsworthy events, such as the Olympic Games" and other materials that crowd out the news coverage. (59) The more attention the disaster coverage receives in the media, the higher will be the willingness to offer help, making it dependent on obviously unrelated events.
Social cognitive factors have a significant direct effect on disaster relief campaigns. (60) A causal model covering 11 factors that induce people to donate to charity reveals that: "self-efficacy, outcome efficacy, trust in the IRO (international relief organization), moral obligation, need for donation, awareness of the IRO, and past donation" (61) showed significantly positive effects on intention. There is also a general tendency for politicians and governments to try to meet public expectations by offering foreign assistance in the donor countries. (62) Not surprisingly, public donation to relief operations are related to the government's donation behaviour in a particular country.
There have already been several studies on the devastating effects of the Wenchuan earthquake and Hurricane Katrina focusing on the topics of corporate disaster donation behaviours, disaster diplomacy, political costs of disaster response failure and social protection in disasters. (63,64,65,66) The findings of these studies are quite useful in helping to achieve effective government policies in disaster response and disaster management. However, these two events have not yet been studied from a comparative perspective. Notwithstanding the significant national differences between the US and China, the response from the international community was very united with offers of help coming from all over the world. Despite some significant differences in the institutional settings of the two countries, particularly in the institutional design of disaster relief, a comparison between the two cases is justifiable based on the strong similarities in the economic power that China and the US hold in influencing the global economy.
The literature reviewed shows that most of the extant writings use developed countries (e.g., the US and Japan) to examine what determines their disaster aid to disaster-stricken countries. However, many other countries are responding to the calls for help. After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, some non- traditional donors such as China, India and North Korea offered assistance on a unique scale in disaster history. (67) Similarly, many developing countries offered assistance to the US and China in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Wenchuan earthquake, respectively. It is not yet clear, on a country level, what determines the level of foreign assistance to a disaster-stricken country. In this study, we attempt to provide some answers, examining the cases of Hurricane Katrina and the Wenchuan earthquake.
METHODOLOGY AND DATA
Nations always have significant incentives to maximise their power in international relations and also in the field of disaster relief. (68) National image is considered a country's soft power. (69) One of the major goals of diplomacy is to build, maintain and improve this national image. (70) The active participation in the 2004 Asian Tsunami relief from countries such as the US, China and Japan contributed in many ways towards enhancing their national images (71) and the disaster-related diplomatic activities were fully aimed to achieve this purpose.
Building on previous evidence for geographies of generosity, (72,73) this study tries to draw on a range of perspectives concerning the relationships between global disaster assistance and the themes of "caring at a distance" and "geographies of responsibility" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Wenchuan earthquake. The aim is to statistically analyse the drivers of countries around the globe for contributing towards disaster relief. For the purposes of this study, we consider a country to be a donor of disaster aid if its government has pledged to provide aid respectively to the US or Chinese government.
Disaster aid is allocated in stages, (74) the first stage of which is the decision to grant disaster aid. Often referred to as the gatekeeping stage, the initial decision is about which type of assistance response should be taken. This is followed by a decision on what type of and how many resources to allocate. Different kinds of disaster aid can meet different needs of the stricken country. The kind of disaster aid to be provided is another decision to be made by the donor countries, and this is known as the second decision stage. The third stage is the decision on the actual amount of assistance.
We use the binary logistic method to test the determinants of granting disaster aid, and the multi-logit method to examine the factors that influence a country to choose the kind of disaster aid. The third stage is the decision about the assistance amount that obviously comes into play only if the first decision is positive. We use ordinary least squares (OLS) linear regression to estimate the influence of the various variables describing how much assistance is to be donated.
Dependent Variables and Data
We use three dependent variables to gauge what influences the decisions on disaster aid have. In the first stage, the dependent variable is the decision to grant disaster aid. If a country pledged to provide assistance (in cash or in kind) to the US or China in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina or the Wenchuan earthquake, we identify the granting decision as positive, and code it as "1". If not, the granting decision is coded as "0".
If the first decision is positive, the donor country needs to decide on the kind of assistance. Disaster aid can be cash, supplies and rescue teams, among others. Cash and supplies were more popular in the Hurricane Katrina and Wenchuan earthquake relief. Supplies (including rescue teams) have many immediate advantages in meeting the needs of a disaster-stricken country. Additional supplies after a disaster and assistance from neighbouring countries can be provided quickly, and there are fewer language and cultural barriers. Compared to assistance with supplies, cash donations entail no transportation costs. In addition, most of the relief items can be purchased locally or in neighbouring countries. (75) Supplies, particularly food, can almost always be purchased locally, even in famine situations. (76) Hence, for other countries which are not neighbouring, donating cash or providing credit, if possible, directly to the disaster-stricken area is a very convenient option. In this stage, the dependent variable is the kind of disaster aid. We classify foreign assistance into three types: cash and supplies assistance, cash assistance and supplies assistance. Cash and supplies assistance refers to the cases when a donor country provides both cash and supplies. Similarly, cash/supplies assistance refers to only cash/supplies help by the donor country.
If the assistance response is positive, then the immediate question is how much assistance is provided. In the cases of Hurricane Katrina and the Wenchuan earthquake, we use the variable of the amount of the foreign government's assistance (in USD10,000) to represent how much assistance is allocated. This is the third dependent variable.
The data for the three variables in this research are collected from "Summary of Foreign Assistance Received or Expected to Date" (77) and "Summary of Foreign Assistance Received (up to 27/08/2008)". (78) The monetary value of supplies is calculated according to the pledged worth or volume of provision of supplies. It should be noted that a portion of the pledged donations were not collected by the US and China. (79,80,81) In this study, the official disaster assistance, which was pledged by the government of the donor country, was used to represent the amount of donations given by one country to another. As information on the actual amount received is unavailable, it was difficult to determine the actual amount of foreign donations.
Independent Variables and Data
As pointed out earlier, the factors that influence foreign disaster aid to a disaster-stricken country include political factors, disaster information, distance from the disaster-stricken country and social cognitive factors. For the purpose of this study and based on the availability of data collected, the determinants of donor aid were examined in six dimensions, covering most of the aforementioned factors and some new variables.
Developed countries and developing countries play different roles in international disaster relief. In general, developed countries are expected to shoulder greater responsibility in disaster relief than developing countries. (82) A country is qualified as developed according to the developed country list by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the advanced economy list by the IMF. A dummy variable for developmental level was used to identify whether a country is a developed country, which is coded as "1", and a developing country is coded as "0".
Distance is an impediment to generous responses to the needs of others or to caring action. (83) The distance between various countries is one of the important factors when examining geopolitics (84) and geographies of generosity. (85,86) Thus, distance is always the determinant of the kind of assistance that should be taken. For example, it is convenient for neighbouring countries to donate supplies to the disaster-stricken country. The distance between the disaster-stricken country and donor country was determined by taking the point of reference from the capitals of the respective countries.
The export volume to and import volume from the disaster-stricken country were the two variables for measuring the trading relationship.
The level of economic development influences a donor country's decision in offering foreign disaster aid to other countries. (87) The economic development of a country was measured using: gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita GDP, which reflect a country's ability to provide foreign assistance.
The public risk perception and government policy agenda setting are related to the volume of disaster information available. (88,89) However, it is impossible to investigate the volume of disaster information relevant to Hurricane Katrina and the Wenchuan earthquake in each country in the world. Instead we used information development to represent the extent to which the public and government could receive disaster information. We assumed that the public and the government could receive the disaster information in a country which has a high penetration level of information technology. This dimension was therefore measured by the number of Internet users per 100 people and the number of television receivers per 1,000 inhabitants.
The level of social development of a country can influence its government's position on foreign assistance. A country with a large population always has more supplies for disaster relief. On the other hand, a country with a higher unemployment rate has urgent social problems (e.g., poverty) to solve, which makes the government more concerned about civil than foreign affairs. Though different countries define poverty differently, existing studies prove that the unemployment rate is significantly and positively associated with poverty. (90,91) Population and unemployment rate were two variables adopted here to measure the dimension of social development. The independent variables are shown in Table 1.
The data on distance between the capitals of the disaster-stricken country and donor country are calculated by using Geobytes. (92) The data for the remaining nine variables are collected from the database of the United Nations. (93) For Hurricane Katrina, 2004 data were used. For the Wenchuan earthquake, 2006 data were used as a good proxy. In total, 191 countries (including the US and China) were covered with relevant data explained in the following section.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
We used the aforementioned methods to examine the determinants of the foreign assistance to the US and China with the aid of a statistical software known as SPSS 13.
Determinants of Granting Disaster Aid
Of the 190 countries, there were 107 donor countries which granted disaster aid to the US and 125 countries which provided assistance to China. Of the 189 countries, excluding the US and China, there were 80 countries that took contrary decisions on granting disaster aid to the US and China. It is thus interesting to examine what determined the decisions of these countries to grant disaster aid.
The binary logistic regression model, (94) based on the logistic function, is generally used to study the nature of dependence of a dichotomous response variable (Y) on a number of explanatory variables ([X.sub.1], [X.sub.2], [X.sub.k]), which are either discrete or continuous in nature. Table 2 shows the results, from which the determinants of granting disaster aid can be deduced, estimated by using the binary logistic regression model. The chi-square and significance (sig.) of these two regressions indicate that the model fits the data reasonably well.
The results show that developed countries were more likely to provide disaster aid to both the US and China, because as expected, developed countries took the responsibility of disaster relief seriously. However, there were differences in the decisions made to grant disaster aid to the US and China. For Hurricane Katrina, the 107 countries that provided disaster aid were more likely to have higher GDP, implying these countries had more wealth. For the Wenchuan earthquake, the 125 countries which granted disaster aid were more likely to be closer to Beijing and have higher exports to China.
The comparison has shown that besides developmental level, the factors that determined the granting of assistance were the economic development of a country in the case of Hurricane Katrina in the US, and the trading relationship and geopolitics in the case of the Wenchuan earthquake in China.
Determinants of the Type of Disaster Aid
The estimation results from the multi-logit method, as shown in Table 3, indicated that the factors that determined the various kinds of disaster aid were different when comparing the Wenchuan earthquake and Hurricane Katrina. The coefficients represent the effect of each explanatory variable on the probability ratio of the decision made on the kind of disaster aid, relative to the probability of cash assistance.
Countries that chose both cash and supplies assistance met both the cash and resource needs of the disaster-stricken country, and such foreign assistance was considered to be more comprehensive and effective. (95) The results also indicated that the 29 countries that offered this kind of assistance to China were more likely to have higher GDP, higher per capita GDP and closer proximity to Beijing. For example, the first batch of international aid to reach China was a transport plane carrying 30 tons of relief materials from Russia that arrived in Sichuan's provincial capital Chengdu on 14 May 2008. Another 100 tons of goods arrived in subsequent days. (96) Turkmenistan also provided 40 tons of relief materials to China after the earthquake happened. (97) For Hurricane Katrina, the 17 countries that donated to the US were more likely to have a higher developmental level, more imports from the US but less exports to the US, higher television receivers per thousand inhabitants, larger populations and were farther from Washington.
Compared to the response of cash assistance, countries that decided to provide supplies assistance typically know what the urgent needs of the disaster- stricken country are. For Hurricane Katrina, the 32 countries which offered supplies assistance were more likely to have higher GDP, more imports from the US and less exports to the US, which means a larger foreign trade deficit with the US influences the choice of supplies assistance. For the Wenchuan earthquake, the 22 countries which opted for the response of supplies assistance were more likely to have higher television receivers per 1,000 inhabitants, less imports from China, higher GDP and larger populations. This indicated that the trading relationship between the donor countries and China had no direct influence on their option to offer supplies assistance to China. Their decision to respond by giving supplies assistance was determined by the information development and social development factors.
The countries with larger populations, such as India, Japan, the US and China, always have the capacity to deliver more relief supplies. When a disaster- stricken country appeals for special supplies, such as tents, medicine, sheets, generators, etc., these can be collected and delivered immediately. For both the Wenchuan earthquake and Hurricane Katrina, the countries with larger populations were more likely to provide cash and supplies to the US, or supplies to China. The higher proportion of television sets has a positive effect on providing supplies, most likely because donor countries could receive more information related to the needs for disaster relief via television news. Economic development also has a positive effect. A country with higher GDP is more likely to donate supplies.
A significant difference between the donor countries of the Wenchuan earthquake and Hurricane Katrina was their trading relationship with the disaster-stricken countries. For the Wenchuan earthquake, donor countries that had less imports from China were of higher likelihood to respond by giving supplies assistance. For Hurricane Katrina, the case appears to be different: donor countries that had lower exports to the US and more imports from the US were more likely to offer assistance in the form of supplies.
The distance between the capitals of donor countries and the disaster-stricken country did not guarantee the provision of supplies assistance. Distance also had no significant effect on the decision to provide supplies in both cases. Furthermore, for the case of Hurricane Katrina, a donor country of farther distance from the disaster-stricken country was more likely to provide supplies and cash.
Determinants of the Amount of Disaster Aid
For the donor countries, how much to donate in response to the destructive events was selective and unstable. There was no significant correlation between the donor countries' response to the two disasters. As the richest and most advanced country in the world, the US had more resources to handle and recover from the disaster than China. However, more cash and supplies assistance were provided to the US, signalling that international donation was a competitive campaign.
There were 152 donor countries in all (excluding the US and China) that provided assistance to the US or China. Of these countries, how much to donate was selective and unstable. The coherence of the amount from these countries to the US and China was examined by using bivariate correlations. The correlation was 0.021 (sig. = 0.799), implying that there was no significant correlation between the amount of assistance to the US and China.
We used the OLS regression in the model to find out the determinants of the amount of disaster aid. The results are shown in Table 4.
The results show that developmental level had a negative effect on the assistance amount, that is, developed countries provided less assistance to the US and China, which was against our expectations, chiefly because developed countries have integrated humanitarian assistance mechanisms by which the amount of aid is allocated according to the development and recovery ability of the disaster-stricken country. Among the developing countries, most were non-traditional donors such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, but they provided more aid than most developed countries. This can be explained as a chance to score for success that resulted in disaster diplomacy and strengthened their national image, which might benefit their trade with China.
Per capita GDP had a significant positive effect on the assistance amount. The higher the per capita GDP of a donor country, the more significant was the increase in the assistance amount. Donor countries with greater per capita GDP indicate that they had the ability to gain more internal revenue, which means they could allocate more aid funds to provide assistance to disaster-stricken countries.
A country's exports to China had a statistically positive effect on the assistance amount. Donor countries with higher exports to China provided more assistance. This can be explained by the fact that these countries wanted to keep good relationships with China due to trading needs. However, for Hurricane Katrina, we found no statistical evidence of any impact of the trading relationship on the assistance amount.
The statistical significance for the case of Hurricane Katrina was 0.1598, which means that the regression model did not fit the data reasonably well. Hence, we had to change the estimation process. Developed countries and developing countries play different roles in international disaster relief, and that suggests they have different motives for donating disaster aid. In this study, we used an OLS regression to model the allocation of disaster aid by developed countries and developing countries to the US and China. The estimated results are shown in Table 4.
There were 34 developed countries in our samples, including the US, and most provided assistance to China and the US. In total, 30 developed donor countries decided to donate USD95.5 million in assistance to the US; and 33 developed donor countries provided USD70.6 million in assistance to China, much less than the assistance donated to the US. 93 developing donor countries provided USD500 million in assistance to China, accounting for 64 per cent of the developing countries' assistance to the US, or USD776.0 million. As the richest and most advanced country in the world, the US had more resources to handle and recover from the disaster than China. However, more cash and supplies assistance were provided to the US instead, indicating that international donation had been a competitive campaign.
For developed countries, GDP was the only variable that had a negative effect on the assistance to the US, while other variables had no statistical effect. For the Wenchuan earthquake, however, developed countries with higher exports to China and of farther distance from Beijing provided more assistance. A possible explanation for this is that these countries wanted to maintain good relationships with China due to trading needs.
For developing countries, the per capita GDP of donor countries had a significant statistical effect on the amount of assistance to the US and China. These countries decided the extent of their assistance based on their economic development status. Similar to developed countries, the volume of exports to China had a significant effect on the assistance amount. For both developed and developing countries, the level of assistance provided is always decided by the governments which are concerned about their trading interests with China. We found no statistical effects of information development or social development on the assistance allocation in both cases.
The Continental Perspective on Donations
Geographic features, such as location, distance, terrain, climate and resources, have an impact on a government's foreign security policies. (98) The continent where the disaster-stricken or donor country is located is an important factor that affects global disaster response. (99,100,101) This study yields insights into the foreign affairs of countries from the continental perspective with reference to disaster donations to China and the US after being struck by an earthquake and a hurricane, respectively (see Table 5).
Hurricane Katrina occurred on the North American continent, and the Wenchuan earthquake occurred in Asia. Countries of these two continents responded differently to the two disasters. Of the 46 Asian countries, 41 countries donated cash or supplies to China, but only 33 did so for the US. Of the 26 North American countries, 11 countries pledged to provide disaster aid to the US, but only eight countries did so for China. Compared with North America, the South American and Oceanian countries took a similar response. In Africa, the number of countries which donated to China was more than the number of donors to the US. European countries, compared to countries in other continents, seemed to be more neutral and progressive, giving equal consideration to the two disasters. In this sense, disaster assistance from the European countries largely showed a form of cosmopolitanism.
From the continental perspective on donations, evidence has proved that geographies of generosity existed in the first stage of disaster aid, namely, the decision to grant disaster aid. A country is more likely to provide assistance if it is located on the same continent as the disaster-stricken country. Countries in the same continent share similar cultures, ethnics, trades, etc., thus the possibility of a country taking up the responsibility to meet the needs of the disaster-stricken country is increased. The US attracted the generosity of South America and Oceania much more than China due to the American influence on these countries, e.g., the alliance relationship. However, the African donor countries showed greater generosity towards China than the US because of the traditional relationships between China and African countries. In the African perspective, China maintains friendly relations and engages with most African nations, particularly nations such as Libya and Ethiopia, with which the US has limited contact or diplomatic leverage over. (102,103)
As Table 5 shows, the donation amount from countries of the six continents to the US and China did not have a direct correlation with the number of donors. The 41 Asia donors provided USD147.40 million in assistance to China, while 33 countries donated USD782.20 million to the US, accounting for 531 per cent of the amount of donations to China. This can be explained by the fact that donor countries of Hurricane Katrina wanted to attract US attention by offering huge donations. The motive was to contribute towards enhancing their national image. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Kuwaiti government made a USD500 million pledge to the relief efforts. A cheque of USD250 million was presented by the vice president of the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society, Dr Hilal Al-Sayir, at a ceremony held at the American Red Cross Society headquarters and attended by the Kuwaiti Ambassador in Washington, Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah. "Because America is our friend and our ally who liberated our country, this is the least we can do to help the US overcome the Katrina natural disaster," said Dr Hilal Al-Sayir in a statement to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). (104) Some donor countries had similar motives to keep good relations with the US. Another close US ally, the United Arab Emirates, made a USD100 million donation in cash and in kind, including tents, clothing, food and other aid. Thus, the magnitude of donation in response to the destructive events was not significantly related to geographies of generosity.
As the world's largest developed country and developing country, respectively, the US and China have their own latent influences on the world. Using the three- stage process of disaster aid decision, this article discusses the foreign responses to the US and China when struck by Hurricane Katrina and the Wenchuan earthquake.
The estimation results from the two cases showed some common characteristics of the donor countries. First, developed countries were more likely to grant disaster aid, but did not provide more aid. On the contrary, they donated less aid than developing countries. A possible reasonable explanation is that developed countries are always expected to have more responsibilities for global humanitarian assistance than developing countries, and are hence less generous in allocating assistance to the US and China because they consider the two countries to have the ability to handle the disasters.
Second, developing countries with higher per capita GDP usually have a motive to donate more aid. They probably want to take on more responsibility for global disaster relief, and create and promote the process of disaster-related reconciliation with the US and China. Countries with higher GDP and larger populations are more likely to provide supplies assistance since they have sufficient supplies for disaster relief.
Third, the higher proportion of television sets had a positive effect on the decision to donate supplies, probably because of the population's accessibility to more information and greater awareness about the need for disaster relief.
Finally, some findings contradicted common expectations. A donor country's close proximity to the capital of the disaster-stricken country did not guarantee provision of supplies assistance. The unemployment rate had no impact on the disaster aid.
The estimation results showed there were several obvious differences between the foreign response to the Wenchuan earthquake and Hurricane Katrina. First, export volume to China had a significant positive effect on the decision to grant disaster aid and the amount of assistance aid. For Hurricane Katrina, however, export volume to the US had negative effects on the decision to provide supplies aid. Second, countries of closer proximity to Beijing were more likely to provide aid to China. As for Hurricane Katrina, countries with higher GDP were more likely to grant aid.
A country with a larger export volume to China was highly likely to provide more disaster aid to China, whether it is a developed or developing country. Many countries began to focus on China's large market potential, following its economic rise. Providing disaster aid to China could translate into success that results in disaster diplomacy and strengthened national image, which may create people-to-people linkages and benefit trade with China. In contrast, countries with higher GDP had the incentive to grant disaster aid to the US. This can be explained by the fact that these countries had the ability to donate and engage in disaster-related diplomatic activities, though they did not have close trading relationships with the US. Some of them are known to have implemented disaster diplomacy in their foreign policy. (105)
The evidence has proved that geographies of generosity existed in the first stage of disaster aid, namely, the decision to grant disaster aid. However, at the second stage, there was no significant evidence that neighbouring countries provided more supplies assistance to the disaster-stricken areas than other countries, though supplies assistance from neighbouring countries can be the most convenient and fast, and language and cultural barriers would be less obvious. Furthermore, at the third stage, on the amount of donations, in response to the destructive events, the magnitude of the donation was not significantly related to geographies of generosity based on the donor countries' response to the two disasters. Compared to countries from Asia, Africa, America and Oceania, the disaster assistance from the European countries largely showed a degree of cosmopolitanism.
Effective aid should have met the needs of the disaster-stricken countries. However, some supplies were unsolicited and unavailable. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, Sweden contributed telecommunication equipment and technicians to the US, but these could not be used properly due to a lack of technical workers. In addition, valuable supplies and services--such as medicine and cruise ships--were delayed or declined because the recipient government could not handle them. In some cases, foreign supplies were wasted. The US allies offered USD854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash, but only USD40 million was used for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to US officials and contractors. (106) Therefore, a needs assessment must be carried out promptly by national authorities of the affected country. Donors should be informed immediately of the specific type of assistance that is needed or not needed. It is important to build a global information network (GIN) that is capable of retrieving and integrating data into useful information for cash and supplies assistance. Findings from the two cases suggested that if a global disaster relief resource support centre is to be built, countries with large populations and high GDP are ideal location choices since they have the ability to store and deliver the disaster relief supplies.
From the perspective of effective assistance, the offering of foreign assistance should not be at all associated with political motivations. Some countries with major internal problems and civil conflicts, such as Myanmar, Rwanda, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and Congo, donated cash or supplies to China or the US. These countries have faced challenges of "chronic" disasters in their own land and the donations could be put to more effective use in their own countries.
However, global responses to the aftermath of a devastating disaster, such as donations in cash or in kind, rescue teams, supplies and diplomatic condolences, are important parts of the news and media coverage of the disaster, which may influence the public opinion related to the donations. Given the global impact of disasters, if response is insufficient or absent, non-disaster-stricken countries may face negative public opinion as they fail to live up to the expectations of the people in the disaster-stricken country to offer assistance, since non-government actors, including the mass media, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals attempt to create and promote the process of disaster-related reconciliations. In the event of a disaster in a country, its close trading partner, be it exports- or imports-oriented trading relations, should be motivated to offer assistance to tide it over the crisis. If the two countries share a close trading relationship, it is obligatory for the non-disaster- stricken country to make donations to the disaster-stricken country. After the Wenchuan earthquake, Japan's timely and appropriate response resulted in a certain degree of reconciliation in the public opinion of Chinese people, despite long-running and latent conflicts.
A magnitude-7.0 earthquake hit southern Haiti on 13 January 2010, causing catastrophic damage to the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. In the days following the earthquake, many countries launched quick responses to Haiti in order to achieve an effective disaster relief effort. Haiti was still recovering from the deadly 2008 hurricanes when the quake struck. Multiple earthquakes hit Christchurch in New Zealand between September 2010 and December 2011, some of them deadly, with devastating effects. Millions of people in Pakistan needed aid to recover from the 2010 floods. Another case was Myanmar's Cyclone Nargis on 2 May 2008, causing over 29,000 deaths, more than 42,000 people missing and as many as 1.5 million people left displaced without homes. (107) Despite having its hands full dealing with the Wenchuan earthquake, China committed USD10 million in donations to Myanmar's relief efforts. (108)
Further research is required to establish a global paradigm for disaster response, where, on an optimistic note, cosmopolitanism and humanitarianism should take precedence over diplomacy and politics.
The authors are grateful to the editor of this journal and to two anonymous referees for their helpful and constructive comments and suggestions that improved the quality of this article. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (91024027, 61004108), Anhui Social Science Foundation (AHSK11-12D360) and the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-09-0920) funded this research. The third author wishes to acknowledge the financial assistance of the Australian Research Council.
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Jiuchang Wei (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Associate Professor in the School of Management at the University of Science and Technology of China. He received his PhD in Management Science and Engineering from the University of Science and Technology of China. His primary research interests are risk and crisis management, sustainable development in China and information management.
Dingtao Zhao (email@example.com) is Professor in the School of Management at the University of Science and Technology of China. He has a Master's degree from South China University of Technology. His primary research interests include strategy management, sustainable development in China and crisis management.
Dora Marinova (D.Marinova@curtin.edu.au) is Professor and Deputy Director of Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute at Curtin University. She received her PhD in Economics from the University for World and National Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria. Her primary research interests are emerging technological trends, innovation, sustainable development and China.
TABLE 1 Independent Variables Used in the Models Dimensions Independent Variables Developmental Dummy variable ("1" if the country Level is a developed country, "0" if it is a developing country) Distance Distance from the capital of disaster-stricken country, kilometres (km) Trading Exports to disaster-stricken country, Relationship million USD Imports from disaster-stricken country, million USD Economic Gross Domestic Product (GDP), million Development USD Per capita GDP, USD Information Internet users per 100 population Development Television receivers per thousand inhabitants Social Population, 10,000 people Development Unemployment rate (%) TABLE 2 Determinants of the Decision to Grant Disaster Aid Hurricane Katrina Variables in Coefficient SE Sig. the Equation Constant -0.2841 0.1796 0.1138 Developmental level 1.2771 0.6950 0.0661 GDP 0.000001 0.0000 0.0166 Percentage Correct 69.50 Chi-square 36.9925 Sig. 0.0000 Wenchuan Earthquake Variables in Coefficient SE Sig. the Equation Constant 1.8764 0.4982 0.0002 Developmental level 2.5299 1.0615 0.0172 Distance from the -0.0002 0.0000 0.0001 capital of the disaster- stricken country Exports to the disaster- 0.0007 0.0003 0.0098 stricken country Percentage Correct 73.70 Chi-square 62.2732 Sig. 0.0000 Note: SE is standard error. Sig. is significance. TABLE 3 Determinants of the Foreign Assistance Responses Explanatory Variables Cash and Supplies Assistance Hurricane Katrina Coefficient SE Intercept -9.9011 *** 3.4814 Developmental level 2.9948 * 1.7917 Distance from the 0.0004 ** 0.0002 capital of the disaster-stricken country Exports to the -0.0003 ** 0.0001 disaster-stricken country Imports from the 0.0004 * 0.0002 disaster-stricken country GDP 0.00001 0.0000 Per capita GDP 0.0000 0.0000 Internet users per -0.0191 0.0489 100 population Television receivers 0.0097 ** 0.0039 per 1,000 inhabitants Population 0.0004 ** 0.0002 Unemployment rate -0.2288 0.1781 Number of observations 17 Proportion of observations 0.0895 Explanatory Variables Cash and Supplies Assistance Wenchuan Earthquake Coefficient SE Intercept -0.7326 0.9936 Developmental level 0.3822 0.9721 Distance from the -0.0001 * 0.0001 capital of the disaster-stricken country Exports to the 0.0001 0.0001 disaster-stricken country Imports from the -0.0001 0.0001 disaster-stricken country GDP 0.00001 ** 0.0000 Per capita GDP 0.0001 ** 0.0000 Internet users per -0.0406 0.0285 100 population Television receivers 0.0012 0.0024 per 1,000 inhabitants Population 0.0001 0.0001 Unemployment rate -0.0153 0.0571 Number of observations 29 Proportion of observations 0.1526 Explanatory Variables Supplies Assistance Hurricane Katrina Coefficient SE Intercept -1.8899 * 1.1169 Developmental level 1.0839 1.1010 Distance from the 0.0000 0.0001 capital of the disaster-stricken country Exports to the -0.0003 ** 0.0001 disaster-stricken country Imports from the 0.0003 * 0.0002 disaster-stricken country GDP 0.00001 ** 0.0000 Per capita GDP 0.0000 0.0000 Internet users per 0.0301 0.0263 100 population Television receivers 0.0022 0.0019 per 1,000 inhabitants Population 0.0000 0.0001 Unemployment rate -0.0344 0.0571 Number of observations 32 Proportion of observations 0.1684 Explanatory Variables Supplies Assistance Wenchuan Earthquake Coefficient SE Intercept -1.2572 0.9986 Developmental level 0.0816 1.0731 Distance from the -0.0001 0.0001 capital of the disaster-stricken country Exports to the 0.0001 0.0001 disaster-stricken country Imports from the -0.0003 ** 0.0002 disaster-stricken country GDP 0.000001 * 0.0000 Per capita GDP 0.0000 0.0000 Internet users per 0.0057 0.0214 100 population Television receivers 0.0048 *** 0.0018 per 1,000 inhabitants Population 0.0001 * 0.0001 Unemployment rate -0.0283 0.0586 Number of observations 22 Proportion of observations 0.1158 Notes: The reference category is Cash Assistance (for Wenchuan Earthquake, n = 74; for Hurricane Katrina, n = 58). *,**, ** mean statistically significant at 10%, 5% and 1% level, respectively. SE is standard error. TABLE 4 Determinants of the Size of Disaster Aid Explanatory Variables Hurricane Katrina Wenchuan Earthquake Coefficient SE Coefficient SE Constant -1411.2014 1657.6974 203.62 212.07 Developmental -5498.45 *** 1945.7332 -477.20 ** 234.8728 level Distance from the 0.1383 0.1062 -0.0001 0.0158 capital of the disaster-stricken country Exports to the -0.0224 0.0752 0.0227 *** 0.0086 disaster-stricken country Imports from the 0.0365 0.1105 -0.0060 0.0110 disaster-stricken country GDP -0.0004 0.0011 0.0001 0.0002 Per capita GDP 0.1366 ** 0.0580 0.0165 *** 0.0061 Internet users per -19.0589 47.7921 -1.7380 4.8215 per 100 population Television 5.7906 3.6254 -0.1792 0.4582 receivers per 1,000 inhabitants Population -0.0058 0.0378 0.0008 0.0063 Unemployment rate -25.3220 74.7608 -10.6130 13.6140 Number of 107 125 observations R 0.3651 0.3793 [R.sup.2] 0.1333 0.1439 Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.0431 0.0688 Sig. 0.1598 0.0498 Explanatory Developed Countries Variables Hurricane Katrina Wenchuan Earthquake Coefficient SE Coefficient SE Constant -479.91 806.2393 -846.44 ** 345.0593 Developmental level Distance from the 0.0649 0.0400 0.0721 ** 0.0304 capital of the disaster-stricken country Exports to the -0.0090 0.0101 0.0197 *** 0.0059 disaster-stricken country Imports from the 0.0213 0.0159 -0.0052 0.0044 disaster-stricken country GDP -0.0005 * 0.0003 -0.0001 0.0001 Per capita GDP -0.0025 0.0082 0.0007 0.0032 Internet users per 9.6432 8.7421 -1.1292 3.1153 per 100 population Television -0.6433 0.9032 0.5120 0.3977 receivers per 1,000 inhabitants Population 0.1334 0.0862 0.0520 0.0435 Unemployment rate -16.4922 48.5205 -5.3038 20.2263 Number of 30 33 observations R 0.7323 0.7322 [R.sup.2] 0.5362 0.5362 Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.3275 0.3547 Sig. 0.0378 0.0173 Explanatory Developing Countries Variables Hurricane Katrina Wenchuan Earthquake Coefficient SE Coefficient SE Constant -858.71 1914.46 -81.5369 215.5337 Developmental level Distance from the 0.0434 0.1230 0.0151 0.0159 capital of the disaster-stricken country Exports to the 0.0106 0.1627 0.1688 *** 0.0307 disaster-stricken country Imports from the -0.0158 0.1960 0.0048 0.0256 disaster-stricken country GDP -0.0018 0.0093 -0.0011 * 0.0006 Per capita GDP 0.4934 *** 0.1139 0.0261 *** 0.0090 Internet users per -73.1162 72.0314 -5.2178 5.5094 per 100 population Television 2.7148 4.5254 -0.4324 0.4710 receivers per 1,000 inhabitants Population 0.0199 0.0791 -0.0042 0.0074 Unemployment rate -29.5670 82.0678 -7.5157 13.5320 Number of 77 92 observations R 0.5410 0.6650 [R.sup.2] 0.2927 0.4422 Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.1976 0.3810 Sig. 0.0038 0.0000 Notes: *, **, ** mean statistically significant at 10%, 5% and 1% level, respectively. Sig. is significance. TABLE 5 Donations in the Continental Perspective Continents Number of Hurricane Katrina countries Number Amount of of donors donations (million USD) Africa 51 16 5.485 Asia 46 33 782.20 Oceania 13 6 10.28 Europe 41 33 43.289 North America 26 11 19.355 South America 12 7 1.73 Total 189 106 862.339 Continents Number of Wenchuan Earthquake countries Number Amount of of donors donations (million USD) Africa 51 25 9.60 Asia 46 41 147.40 Oceania 13 8 3.95 Europe 41 36 45.90 North America 26 8 10.82 South America 12 6 1.33 Total 189 124 218.99 Note: The US and Chare excluded from the sample.
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|Title Annotation:||PART TWO|
|Author:||Wei, Jiuchang; Zhao, Dingtao; Marinova, Dora|
|Publication:||China: An International Journal|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2013|
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